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Today’s job report announced that with the addition of only 96,000 jobs last month, the number of people in the workforce dropped to its lowest level in 31 years, undermining the momentum President Obama may have gained from his speech to the Democratic National Convention last night.
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Unemployment dropped 0.2 percent from July, to 8.1 percent, for the most part because 368,000 people stopped looking for jobs.
The economy has added, on average, 139,000 jobs per month this year. In 2011, that number was 153,000. August’s report was much lower than the average and much lower than economists expected.
Economist polled by CNNMoney expected 120,000 jobs to be created in August. To simply keep pace with the growing population,150,000 jobs need to be created each month.
The weak pace of hiring is the latest sign that businesses are reluctant to make big investments or add more workers.
In his speech Thursday night, President Obama reassured voters that America’s problems could be solved, but not immediately.
“The truth is,” Obama said, “it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over the decades.”
August’s job report, one of the most important measures of the state of the economy, shows that the economic recovery is still a long way off. It has been three years since the end of the recession and 12.5 million Americans remain unemployed.
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